The Philosopher’s Stone

cordelia2

Alchemy.  The science of transmutation.  Turning lead into gold.  We all want it.  Everyone wants to find that element, that elusive and pivotal essence that will create the desired change.  Where is that magical Philosopher’s Stone?  One sliver dissolved in liquid and quaffed is a panacea for all ills.  Taken regularly it is the Elixir of Life, bestower of immortality.  It’s powerful stuff.

You must realize, of course, that I’m speaking in metaphor here.  It is my belief (and that of many others) that the “science” of Alchemy is allegorical to the quest of the human soul towards enlightenment.

Is it unrealistic to believe that there is one ingredient that can transmute our heavy leaden existences into the soaring, golden bliss of enlightenment?  I think not.

I’ve noticed a theme running through my life. This theme has to do with “True Statements”.   I’m talking about that experience when you hear a phrase or a quote or a teaching and the deep, undeniable Truth of it hits you in the face like a chocolate cream pie thrown by a major league pitcher.

Here are some of the True Statements that have pie-whacked me:

“Follow your bliss.”  Joseph Campbell

“Do what thou Wilt be the whole of the law.” ~ Aleister Crowley

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.”  ~ Rumi

“Do what you love. Know your own bone; Gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it and gnaw it still.” ~
Henry David Thoreau

“Keep pure your highest ideal.  Strive ever towards it.  Let naught stop you or turn you aside.” ~ Doreen Valiente

“Your Heart’s Desire is the Voice of God, and that Voice must be obeyed sooner or later.” ~ Emmett Fox

Do you see the theme?

There’s nothing high-minded about it.  It’s not about intellect or wisdom. It’s not about finding the right guru. And it’s not, in the end, even about prayer or meditation.  It’s about DOING.

I do believe that we are spiritual beings, at our core.  But we were put on this earth, in this mundane existence for a reason.  It is to experience things and experience Doing things.

Without exception, when humans occupy that space of “the zone”, they are creating.  And creation is the realm of the gods.

In those moments you are connecting your heart and your soul to the Soul of the World, the Anima Mundi.  At those times when you are doing what you truly love, you are at peak intuition, highest wisdom and you are changing the world.  And not just your world, THE world.  You are collaborating with the Anima Mundi to bring about that which is in your heart.  In those moments you can feel the presence of the divine.

And this, my dear readers, is the Philosopher’s Stone.

Let’s take a closer look at some of those quotes.

Joseph Campbell said “Follow Your Bliss”.  And I said, above, that you’re changing the world by being in that zone of joy.  Here’s a little excerpt from Bill Moyers’ interview with Joseph Campbell in the PBS series “The Power of Myth”. They were discussing the idea of “Following Your Bliss”.

“-Moyers:  In this sense, unlike heroes such as Prometheus or Jesus, we’re not going on our journey to save the world but to save ourselves.

–Campbell: But in doing that, you save the world.  The influence of a vital person vitalizes, there’s no doubt about it. The world without spirit is a wasteland. People have the notion of saving the world by shifting things around, changing the rules, and who’s on top, and so forth. No, no! Any world is a valid world if it’s alive. The thing to do is to bring life to it, and the only way to do that is to find in your own case where the life is and to become alive yourself.”

 The more you can cultivate those moments of following your bliss, the more often and the longer you dwell there, the more miraculous your life will be.

How about Crowley?  “Do what thou wilt be the whole of the law.  Love is the law; love under Will.”   Crowley expanded on this edict from his seminal work Liber Legis or “The Book of the Law” in a further interpretive work, “Liber II, The Message of the Master Therion”.  He discusses the meaning of Will (with a capital W).  This Will is akin to Purpose (with a capital P).

“It is Nirvana, only dynamic instead of static–and this comes to the same thing in the end.

The obvious practical task of the magician is then to [(1)] discover what his will really is … (2) Do that Will with a) one-pointedness, (b) detachment, (c) peace.

Then, and then only, art thou in harmony with the Movement of Things, thy will part of, and therefore equal to, the Will of God. And since the will is but the dynamic aspect of the self, and since two different selves could not possess identical wills; then, if thy will be God’s will, Thou art That.”

And Doreen Valiente’s beautiful poem, “The Charge of the Goddess” furthers this notion.  The quote, expanded, reads:

“Keep pure your highest ideal. Strive ever towards it.  Let naught stop you or turn you aside.  For mine is the secret door which opens upon the land of youth. And mine is the cup of the wine of life and the cauldron of Cerridwen, which is the Holy Grail of immortality.”

So don’t seek enlightenment. Seek the joy of creativity that makes you forget that you’re not enlightened yet.  Don’t pursue self-development. Pursue those moments of pure bliss that put you in the role of creator.  No self-judgments or doubts can creep in at those times.  You’re already there.

That’s your Alchemy.  That is your pivot-point of transformation.  That’s your Pholosopher’s Stone.

Contemplate what that is for you.

I will leave you, dear reader, with these quotes from “The Alchemist” by Paolo Coelho to move you along your journey.

“I learned that the world has a soul, and that whoever understands that soul can also understand the language of things. I learned that many alchemists realized their Personal Legends, and wound up discovering the Soul of the World, the Philosopher’s Stone, and the Elixir of Life. But, above all, I learned that these things are all so simple that they could be written on the surface of an emerald.”

“This is why alchemy exists,” the boy said. “So that everyone will search for his treasure, find it, and then want to be better than he was in his former life. Lead will play its role until the world has no further need for lead; and then lead will have to turn itself into gold. That’s what alchemists do. They show that, when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.”

Brightest Blessings

In the Company of Yin

cover yin yang

There was a time in my life (in that maiden to mother phase) when I naturally fell into a routine of caring for my mate and child, spending more of my time on them than on anything else.  It’s easy to do and I think many American women can identify.

Your girlfriends are in the same stage and it’s easy to let those friendships fall by the wayside.  It’s easy to allow yourself the joys of family and immerse yourself in your relationship with a significant other.  With the exception of lesbian couples, this is almost always a male dominated time in one’s life.

Family

And there’s nothing wrong with that.  I know, for me, it was a time to explore the Animus side of my own psyche.  I spent a tremendous amount of time trying to put myself in my husband’s shoes, in order to better understand him.  It was part of my endeavor to be a good wife/partner in our relationship.  And much of this time in my life was worthwhile and valuable and enjoyable.

But something was still missing.  I realized, one day, that so much of my life revolved around Husband and Family that I no longer had strong bonds with women.  In fact, I wasn’t sure I ever had.  I seemed to hold a belief in the back of my mind that I’d always identified more with men anyway.  In hindsight, this might have been a “sour grapes” sort of attitude.  I felt obligated to that life… even though, when I got honest with myself, I had to admit that I chose it.  But there was, at that time, a bit of a feeling of being trapped in that.

In my marriage, our friends were HIS friends.  My women friends were the wives of his friends.  So I thought I’d try to cultivate some real bonds in that pool of choices.  I decided to have a party just for the women in our social group.

High Tea

I devised a beautiful, pampering “High Tea” sort of soiree.  I called it my Sereni-Tea Party, during which each woman would receive massages, manicures, a soak in the Hot-Tub and all sorts of pampering.  I also devised a small ritual, where each woman was crowned as a Goddess.

The idea was to remind each of us that we are sovereign in our lives, that we may choose, daily, how (and for whom) to live.  It was a big hit.  Everyone loved it.  No one loved it more than I did.  It sparked some changes in my life that are still in the works, I think.

aphrodite

I’m not sure if anyone else at that party “got” what I was trying to convey… but I did.  I claimed myself that day, and again and again on many days that followed it, I claimed my own sovereignty.

The experience sparked a new way of thinking for me.  I had one close female friend and I forged deeper into that bond.  She supported me and cared about my outcomes.  It was a really good start.

friends

I began to embody the Queen archetype.  And that sovereign queen of her own life was not the woman my husband married.  So in some ways, I could call that the beginning of the end of my marriage.  It’s okay.  It was a marriage that needed to end. And when it did, those women (the wives of his friends) shunned me like an Amish photographer. And that’s okay too. They were not “my tribe” anyway.

After the divorce I began to create more and more relationships with women.  I came honestly and openly into groups of females sharing my experiences and my ideas, and offering my empathy for the things that they may have experienced as well.  And that’s when the magick started to happen in my life.

I joined a witch’s grove of learning.  We met each week to discuss books, teach and learn and challenge each other toward excellence.  In the process we also loved, nurtured, supported and cheered each other on.  The grove developed into a coven.  I served as one of the leaders of that coven for quite a few years.

circle of women

I learned and grew more in those years than any other time in my life that I can recall.  I increased my personal power exponentially during that time, because of the company of other powerful women, all striving for their own excellence and the collective excellence of the group.  It created such momentum.  We were all swept along in it.

My leadership role in that group led me to more leadership.  I formed a non-profit spiritual center in my own home.  We offered worship services of an inclusive nature. We provided workshops, support groups, had festivals.  And I gained all of the experiences of facilitating that. And I could not have done it without the blessing of a number of breath-taking feminine souls who were regular members at the center.  They enriched me and the others in our group tremendously.

Life changed, as it does, and eventually I closed the center and moved clear across the country.  In my new home town, I volunteer and teach at a non-profit which supports women in ALL their endeavors to improve their own lives. It’s called Fresh Start Women’s Foundation.

And now, I also facilitate women’s spiritual retreats.  The latest installment of that happened in Sedona, AZ last month.

(There’s a new one coming up in November – Click here for more info!)

Six women from different backgrounds, understandings, beliefs and challenges came together.  We discussed and explored our hopes and fears. We worked towards our dreams.  We shared laughter and shed tears.  We moved forward in our lives, powerfully and magickally.

Above is photographic evidence of the goddess power we generated around us.  (Watch the orb at the foot of each goddess.  This showed up on 3 different cameras!)

owl yin yang

Yin in Taoism is the Feminine Principle.  The feminine aspect of this dualistic reality in which we live occupies the “dark side” of the yin yang symbol.

In Wiccan circles the Goddess is represented by the Moon, the night, while the God is represented by the Sun and the day.

This, in no way should be interpreted as meaning that the feminine principle is “bad” or “wrong”, although that is the way that much of our patriarchal society defines it.

But the divine feminine is a mystery.  The High Priestess card in Tarot holds a scroll, which is half hidden and sits before a curtain, beyond which are mysteries and wisdom untold.  There are even popular jokes about how women are complete mysteries to men.

High Priestess

There’s a reason for that.  And I think it’s our power.  This kind of power cannot simply be offered to everyone.  The power of the Feminine Divine is hidden for a reason.  The right to exist in its web must be earned.

And the women whose power is blatant and obvious to the world have been called everything under the sun, from demon, harlot, bitch to witch, activist, boss and Goddess.

The fact is that all women possess this power.  The degrees may vary or the power may be more or less suppressed by this patriarchal jailhouse, but, make no mistake, it is there.  It is present and can be awakened to greater strengths to greater missions and to the greatness of all things touched by such power.

I’ve found that when women come together in any kind of group, there is a magickal phenomenon that takes place.  There is a heightened power, an increase in intensity, like a spiritual battery being turned on.

A woman is powerful.

A couple of women, or a group, aligned in their Will, connected at their hearts and clear in their intentions, are UNSTOPPABLE, and deeply magickal.

Goddess Group

I’m not talking about excluding men from your life, by any means!  Today, I am in a committed and happy relationship with a loving, wonderful man. In fact, I believe that the time I’ve spent loving and nurturing other women (and myself) is a direct contributor to my finding him and to my being worthy of him.  Our relationship is very strong.  We believe in each other. We encourage each other. We acknowledge each other’s sovereignty.  And I adore spending time with him.

But these days, as the sovereign queen/goddess that I am, I choose to also spend a lot of quality time in the company of Yin.

7 Things You Need for Transformation

Dragonfly image source: http://www.diviningdamoiselle.com/  Butterfly Image Source: http://www.mariabird.com/

 

So you want to change?  You want something different?

If your desire to change goes down to your core, if it has you wanting to smash all your good china, kick your boss in the shins while screaming, “I QUIT!” or get in your car and just drive, never to return, then you just might be ready for a transformation.

drivingaway

Driving Away Image Source: https://findingfaeries.wordpress.com/tag/vacation/

It’s no little thing.

Think about the examples; Butterflies, Dragonflies – going from something that crawls to something that flies and enduring almost complete annihilation of the former being.

Tadpoles;  changing the very element that sustains and holds you.

It’s dangerous.  It’s radical.  It takes a very particular frame of mind and set of guts. It takes everything you’ve got.

So here are 7 ingredients needed to help you transform.  The order is not always the same and the magnitude of each may vary, but all of these things (and probably more) are always required.

So here goes.  Hang on to that plate for a minute, resist the urge to kick the boss and put the car in park.  Maybe, just maybe, you can do this without totally destroying your life.

1.  Willingness

sad caterpillar
Sad Caterpillar Image Source:  http://www.zazzle.com/sad+crying+weeping+stickers

The desire or willingness to transform usually comes from some form of dissatisfaction with “What Is”.  Sometimes it can be triggered by an event. Or it can happen sort of spontaneously.  See my previous blog, “Spontaneous Initiation” for more on that.

Or… if you can grasp an understanding of the process, you can choose to go through a transformation to change some aspect of your life that is not currently working well.

Please NOTE!  You can choose to go through it, but you cannot choose all of the steps along the way.  Real transformation involves confronting the unknown as you will see below.  So a willingness to suffer, to delve, to work hard is necessary.  Whether this happens because you are just so sick of “What Is”, or whether it begins by choice, the work and pain cannot be avoided.

2.  Courage

alien atmosphere

Alien Atmosphere Image Source:  http://www.messagetoeagle.com/vcloudyweatherGJ1214b.php

Another thing about real transformation is that you can’t know the outcome, not entirely.  If you truly knew and understood the being that is on the other side of that miraculous change, then you would already BE that.  But going in, the transformed self that will emerge is a mystery.  The person you are before doesn’t take the same nourishment, may not even breathe the same air as that new being.  It’s like treading into an alien atmosphere without a space suit.  Bravery is needed!

3.  Descent/Darkness

dark scary cave
 Dark Scary Cave Image Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/119978777543128602/

Transformation requires darkness. It requires turning inward to the self and facing difficult truths. The butterfly folds itself into the chrysalis.  The dragonfly dwells down in the mud under the water for most of its early life.  This dwelling with the shadow self and taking a good hard look at “What Is” and “Why It Is”  is a necessary component for change.

And the darkness itself is part of why we see transformation as miraculous.  Rising  out of that darkness into such light is astounding to all who witness it.  (Hint: That’s why it’s worth it!)

4.  New Information

Transformation always requires the assimilation of a new truth.  This will almost undoubtedly conflict with some other deeply held belief you’ve had.  The old, deeply held belief may not even be conscious at the beginning.  (See above regarding descent and shadow work to uncover it.)

Then, once the two conflicting bits of information are discovered you who wish to transform, you who are deep in the mud, or encased in the chrysalis with your shadow must dwell there with both conflicting beliefs for a time.

 This causes dissonance.  Dissonance is VERY uncomfortable.  But this is such a crucial stage.  This is where the old you begins to dissolve and re-form into the new!

Two Wolves

This stage reminds me of the old Native American fable of the Two Wolves.  The grandfather is telling stories to the children, describing two wolves who struggle always inside of you.  One holds the truth and the light and one holds only falsehood and darkness and they fight viciously!  The children enquire – “Grandfather! Which wolf wins the fight?”

Grandfather answers, “The one you feed.”

Two Wolves Image Source: http://www.theapricity.com/forum/showthread.php?54225-The-Wolf-Appreciation-Thread/page14

This is something you may want to keep in mind while struggling through this transformation process.  Consciously look for proof of the new information and consciously decide to debunk the old at every turn.  This is how you’ll win out.

5.  Acceptance/Death

Can you embrace the belief that flight is possible for you?  Even if it means the destruction of the crawling you?   Transformation demands it!

Light breaking throughAt some point in this process the impending annihilation of the old you will rear up and strike a deep fear in your heart.  You have to let go of the old you BEFORE you know what the new you will actually be like.  You have to be willing to die to one life and emerge in a new one.  The more calm acceptance you can cultivate in your time in the darkness, the easier this transition will be.  Meditation and spiritual practice can help in this regard.  Take your time to nurture you while you’re down in the dark.  It’s the only way.

 

Light breaking through image source:  https://www.pinterest.com/pin/43276846389158178/

6.  Strength/Resurrection

A time will come when you have a sense that it is time to break out.  But depending on the depth of your transformation and the length of time spent in the mud, there is a danger that you’ll get trapped in the dark.

Breaking out of the old skin/shell/chrysalis takes a tremendous amount of power.  Collect yourself and remember that all that time in the dark has been building you up for this moment.  Be like this guy and just bust the hell out!

breaking-out-of-shell2

Breaking Out of Shell Image Source:  http://www.radianttransformation.com/archives/2010/12/got-bad-habits-here-are-8-steps-to-break-out-of-your-shell/

7.  Blinking Emergence into the Light and Lift-off!

You will blink and squint at the brightness after emerging. It’s only natural.  Time is needed to assess what you’ve become and to understand how this new life works.

Sustaining this new being, which went from the stillness and dark of breathing water and mud to the spectacular freedom of breathing the clear air and flying in the sunlight, is an important task.  It requires reflection, maintenance and vigilance to not fall back into old familiar depths.

Child Squinting Image Source: http://www.2020eyesite.com/laser-eye-center-blog/  Woman Shielding Image Source: http://batesvision.com/article/visiontips/

dragonfly

 

Take flight, you wonderful new and amazing being!  Rejoice in your success and keep it going!  Fly where you will – to find the next big challenge!

 

 

 

Dragonfly Image Source: http://cliparts.co/dragonfly-gif

And here’s a bonus for you, dear reader!  A Transformational trigger experience!  Do you see that beautiful blue butterfly photo at the top of the article?  That was taken by Maria Bird, Strategic Motivator.  She is hosting an amazing event at the end of this month called Transformational Hiking

Here’s the facebook event page.

If you are in New York – or anywhere near the Hudson Valley, I highly recommend this Mega-Workshop!

Transformational Hiking

 

I traveled to New York from Arizona to take it last year. Maria Bird , having experienced her own incredible transformation, is absolutely expert at conveying this important information in a way that is easily understood, exciting and motivating! There is so much knowledge and power packed into this experience (and all in such a beautiful and inspiring location!) you will end the day feeling exhilarated and ready to take on the world! Worth. Every. Penny! Call her immediately!

6 Elements – YES, 6! How and Why we Invoke them In Ritual

6 Elements – YES, 6!

How and Why We Invoke Them In Ritual

earth_air_fire_water_eyes

Image http://www.unique-design.net/library/element.html

Let’s begin with the four elements that everyone already knows about.

So, we witches cast a circle (or create sacred space) and we “Ward it”.  This means that we invoke protective energies in order to hold the space stable and to ward off unwanted entities that might be attracted to the bright between-the-world space that we’ve just created.

Many of us refer to this practice as “Calling the Quarters”.  The Quarters refer to the four cardinal directions and each direction represents one of the initial four elements to be invoked.  These serve as a protection, yes, but also as a foundation.

Think of them as four pillars…. Or even The Four Pillars (To Know; To Will; To Dare; To Keep Silent).  That could be a whole other article… Yay! Inspiration!

In addition to protection and foundation, each of the elements brings its own specific energies to help to power the magickal working or ritual.

Visualization

In any magickal working or witch’s ritual there is a lot of visualization goin on.  This is a talent which MUST be cultivated in order to be successful in your craft.

I have a friend who says that Wicca, in particular, is the religion of chatchkes.  He’s right!  We witches just LOOOOVE our “Things”!

We have the Athame or black-handled knife, wand, chalice mortar & pestle, censor, salt and water bowls, pentacle, boleen or white-handled knife, etc. etc. etc.

(Don’t forget to add crystals, the God and Goddess candle holders, plates and bowls for cakes and libations and general witchy altar decorations).  And each of those things represents an element as well, but that is yet ANOTHER article!   Believe me, when you’re a witch, you end up with a lot of stuff!

Witch altar

Image Source:  http://wiccanbeauty.com/wiccan-cleansing-rituals/

Ooh!  There’s another article; Dollar Stores, Yard sales, Home Goods and witchy supplies!

We love ALL of the STUFF!  But the truth is that any Witch worth her salt can perform a full ritual and/or magickal working without ANY of that!

It’s all in the visualization.  If you don’t believe that, then I don’t see how you can make magick.

So, in order to work with the elements we visualize them.  Some witches envision large guardian humanoid beings or even Archangels. Some have a different animal representing each quarter.

Gargoyle

Image Source:  http://www.cvltnation.com/beware-the-faithful-medieval-gargoyles/

In the four cardinal directions, I visualize Gargoyles, protective forces carved on buildings of old. They tend to resemble this fellow!  Yea… nothing’s getting through that.   I frequently wish I had a talent for drawing or painting so that I could show you what they look like in all of their splendor and awesome bigness!  Each one is made of their respective element.

You should choose what works for you!

We invoke them by facing in the appropriate cardinal direction, calling to those energies, guardians, watchtowers or what have you.  We name them, we honor them, we request their presence and we welcome them when they arrive.  As an example, the basic quarter call that I was taught, early on, comes from “A Witch’s Bible” by Janet and Stewart Farrar, and it goes like this:

“Guardians of the Watchtowers of the (direction), Ye Lords of (element), I do summon, stir and call you up, to witness this Rite and to Guard this circle.  Hail and Welcome!”

Likewise when we close circle, we recite a similar banishing incantation to release, thank and bid farewell.  The exact words used are not important.  The intention is what matters.

Most Witches certainly know about the four elements, of Air, Fire, Water and Earth.  And many know of the fifth; Spirit. So I’ll be sharing more briefly about these first five since you’ve likely heard about, used and experienced these energies already in your workings.

You’ve likely experienced the 6th as well, but without your conscious awareness.

So, I’m going to spend a bit more time discussing the 6th because you need it, witches!  More to come on that!

Elemental cover image

Image Source: https://allevents.in/saint-leu/dansons-le-cercle-de-vie-roue-de-m%C3%A9decine-chamanique-et-mouvement-libre/204843986559278

 

  • The Witch’s Element of Air

Cardinal Direction: East

Color: Yellow  (Sometimes white)

Alchemical Symbol:          Air

Image Source: http://altreligion.about.com/od/westernocculttradition/ig/Elemental-Symbols/

Platonic Solid: Octohedron      yellow octohedron

 

Image Source: https://grabcad.com/library/regular-octahedron

 

 

Pillar:  To Know

Air moves, carries seeds in its winds and transports things like pollen, spores, even heat.  It can be a light breeze through the trees or gale force winds.  Air is the element associated with transmission of information, language, communication, thought, memory, intelligence, bestowing and reception of wisdom and insight. In our working this will help to bring about our personal understanding of the work at hand. It will open the door for us to receive the teaching of the ritual, because magick, first and foremost, changes the practitioner.

 

  • The Witch’s Element of Fire

Cardinal Direction: South

Color: Red  (Sometimes orange)

Alchemical Symbol:       Fire

Image Source: http://altreligion.about.com/od/westernocculttradition/ig/Elemental-Symbols/

 

 

 

Platonic Solid:  Tetrahedron:    Red Tetrahedron

 

Image Source:  http://www.cutoutfoldup.com/816-tetrahedron.php

 

Pillar:  To Will

The element of Fire can be likened to the Hindu term “Shakti” or the power to act.  Fire consumes, lights, heats and cooks (think Alchemy and transformation).  It represents the passion and drive and determination that get you to your goals.  Whatever your working or spell, you will want these energies to be present in order to complete the necessary transformation.

 

  • The Witch’s Element of Water:

Cardinal Direction: West

Color: Blue

Alchemical Symbol:  Water

Image Source: http://altreligion.about.com/od/westernocculttradition/ig/Elemental-Symbols/

Platonic Solid: Icosahedron       Blue Icosahedron

Image Source:https://www.cgtrader.com/free-3d-models/architectural-details/other/icosahedron–2

Pillar:    To Dare

Water flows and moves in tune with its solid surroundings.  It will take the shape of the vessel which holds it.  Water can be a drop in a puddle sending out tiny ripples or it can be a grand force that carves canyons. It can be deep or shallow.  Water represents our emotions and our unconscious (that which lies beneath), mystery, inspiration and prophesy.  This is a deep well of power for the witch, which is why, when we call water, many of us also call the Lords of Death and Initiation.  The power of Water not only brings an unstoppable force (our unconscious) to the working, but also allows the practitioner to be malleable enough to accept the changes to come without losing herself.

 

  • The Witch’s Element of Earth:

Cardinal Direction: North

Color: Green (sometimes black)

Alchemical Symbol:     Earth

Image Source: http://altreligion.about.com/od/westernocculttradition/ig/Elemental-Symbols/

Platonic Solid: Cube       Green Cube

Image Source:  https://www.qualitylogoproducts.com/stress-balls/cube-stress-toy.htm

Pillar:   To Keep Silent

Earth is the element of solidity and all things tangible. Think of rocks, trees and literal earth.  It represents safety and security, stability and things taking shape (think diamonds!).  The idea of a spell or magickal working, for the most part, is to bring something out of nothing.  So think of the earth element as the Higgs Boson of the craft.  It give matter to your intent.

 

  • The Witch’s Element of Spirit:

Color: White (sometimes golden or violet)

Direction:  Straight UP.

Alchemical Symbol:       spirit

Image Source:  http://altreligion.about.com/od/westernocculttradition/ig/Elemental-Symbols/Spirit.htm

Platonic Solid: Dodecahedron       Crystal Dodecahedron

image source: http://www.ksccrystals.com/clear-quartz-dodecahedron-3-4495-p.asp

So, within our circle or in a magickal working, we invoke or call upon deity.  In this way we are asking for the cooperation of Spirit in our workings.  We may be working with a particular deity that is appropriate to our desired outcome or simply with “The Universe”.  But we are creating and creation is the realm of the gods.  Being in the company of other creators, improves our personal power and will for success!

And finally, 6) The Witch’s Element of Void:

I find it very interesting that a group of people who say they’re all about magick, and who presumably perform magick on a regular basis, I’ve encountered so few of you seem to have an awareness of  (and even fewer still acknowledge in ritual) the sixth element: Void.

pentacle

Image Source:  https://usahitman.com/symbols-world/

Take a look at this Pentacle.  Yes, it has the five points.  But you’ll note that the witch’s pentacle is not a solid, 5 pointed star within a circle (that’s more of a Sheriff’s symbol!).  It is a 5 pointed star drawn with open spaces.  The straight lines that form it cross over one another and form five negative spaces within the points.  Now look at the open or negative space pentagon in the center.  What does it represent?  That’s right. Void.

I’ve spoken about our magical workings being a form of creation.  And I’ve spoken about the elements lending their energies to bring something (your magickal intent) about.  Well, Void is what we create FROM.

big-bang

Image Source:  http://axiomamnesia.com/2014/10/17/episode-513-bangin-scientific-discoveries/

The Big Bang is a great example, because there was literally NOTHING – a dark formless void – and then – there was EVERYTHING.

That dark formless void was the necessary starting point because it is pure potentiality. In the void, anything is possible.

And that is the root of manifestation.  It is that liminal place of things to be.  It is THE proverbial cross-roads, where a decision is made and something comes into being.  In physics it’s known as the Implicate Order.

All the magic in the universe dwells in this place and your intention, your goal, your working is pulled FROM it!  And it utilizes all of those other elements with which you’ve surrounded yourself.

I recommend recognizing void in your circles and in your magickal workings.  It’s like the gunshot that starts the race. I tend to invoke Void’s energy right after invoking Deity.   There are a number of ways to do that.  A simple acknowledgment and awareness of the presence of void is a good start. You can use a black candle or an empty black vessel if you like, as a symbol.

But here’s my favorite invocation.   After I call in Deity and before I begin my working, I say, “I call upon the dark and formless void, the cross-roads of magick.  I stand in the place of pure potentiality to which my words and working give form.  As I decree it, so mote it be!”

You’re welcome.

Spontaneous Initiation

Way back when I was a little baby witchlet and a dedicant to be initiated into a coven, my teacher/ high priestess taught me about what she termed “spontaneous initiation”.  This is almost exactly like spontaneous human combustion, but different… I’ll explain.

spontaneous-combustion

[ Image Source:  http://vomedia.ca/10-cach-kho-tin-khien-con-nguoi-tu-vong/ ]

“Wait! Back up. Is being a dedicant like being a pledge to a sorority or fraternity?”

No, it’s much worse.  In addition to spending a year and a day being regularly embarrassed, made to do outrageously weird things, being stripped naked, tied up and flogged (only SORT OF joking), you also have to learn stuff.  A LOT of stuff (some of which I’ll share with you, dear reader in subsequent blogs!).

Now, back to Spontaneous Initiation.  First you’ll need to have a basic understanding of what initiation into a coven is like.  When you are initiated you are put through a ritual which is intended to symbolize the process of (i) struggle and awakening in the mundane realm of daily life, followed by (ii) descent into the unknown, (iii) spending a little time in the scary, depressing dark, a period many refer to as “the dark night of the soul”, (iv) further descent into death, then, (v) rebirth followed by (vi) vows and oaths of dedication and secrecy, amid (vii) threats of utter annihilation if said oaths are broken.  Sounds like fun, right??

Spontaneous Initiation is when all of the above sort of appears in your life seemingly without your asking for it.

“Wait! You mean all of that horrible initiation stuff just, like, HAPPENS? For REALZ??”

Yes. Well, maybe not the vows and oaths of secrecy, but all the other stuff, yes.  I’m going through one right now! (JOY!)

See this Tarot card right here?  This one?  With the big building cracking and crumbling and being struck by lightning… the one with the people jumping out of it?  This is the Initiation card.

Tower Marchetti

[ image source:  https://www.pinterest.com/pin/423056958723063415/]

What my high priestess taught me about this is that, sometimes, when you make a major decision with your whole mind, body and soul (for example the decision to join a coven, or perhaps to really work on integrating your shadow, or start a new business that is truly soul inspired), you become an “attractor” for situations that will put you through an initiation-like process.  The reason for this, as I understand it, is that, when we truly want to change, the part of us that is no longer serving the desired outcome, has to die, so that we can be rebirthed into that new life.

Or, the short version;

no_free_lunch_study-2

[Image Source:  http://economistjourneytolife.blogspot.com/2012/09/day-89-there-aint-no-such-thing-as-free.html]

Let me give you a real-life example. Me. Right now.

So, a couple of months back I began ramping up my magickal, witchy activities after a period of rest and renewal.  I started taking on new clients, teaching more classes and filling up my schedule with all sorts of fun things.  At the same time, I’ve been taking self improvement classes and delving deeply into my Shadow (ala Carl Jung).

And while I have done some of this kind of work before, I’m finding some new perspective and realizing that I’ve triggered my own spontaneous initiation.

Here are some of the things that have been “happening to me” lately.

My daughter brought up something that happened in her childhood that was particularly painful for her and revealed that she felt that something I did caused it and why.  We talked about it and I shed many tears and my heart hurt for days (still does, if I’m being honest), but it was a discussion that needed to take place.

rory lorelai

[image sourece:  http://gilmore_girls_rocks.tripod.com/1rant20.html ]  (and yes, my daughter and I do see ourselves as the Gilmore Girls)

I brought up a topic with my significant other that prompted another, extremely teary and scary conversation.  I’m not sure if this was a conversation that NEEDED to happen, but I felt like it was a departure from my usual “Keep it to yourself unless it’s immediately relevant” nature.  And maybe that departure is a good thing.  More openness in a relationship is good, right?  Right?  (It’s just, I still feel like I may have damaged a little piece of us, so I’m not sure.)

My dreams have become wildly vivid, deeply emotional, baffling and/or violent.  I wake up in various states of emotion every day and wonder WTF??

A couple of weeks ago, I was in a severe car accident.  I was driving 75 mph on a 6 lane highway. Someone hit my car, causing me to spin around into oncoming traffic and be struck, head-on, by another driver.  I was unhurt, miraculously.  So were all the other people involved.  The driver who hit me left the scene and has not been found.  My car was totaled (it was an older vehicle and did not have collision insurance).  Although I was unharmed, this incident has caused me some emotional trauma.  I had my first panic attack in years a few days after the accident.  I’m still a bit of a nervous wreck when I’m driving.  Oh, and I’m driving a new-to-me car. That’s the good news.  The bad news is that my financial situation at this time is such that I’ve done what I said I would never do again, that is, borrow money.

I’m struggling with various addictive behaviors which have really begun to BUG me and I realize I can no longer tolerate in myself.  This is known as battling inner demons.

battling demons

[image source: http://www.minority-review.com/wrath-of-the-titans-now-thats-much-better/chimera-wrath-of-the-titans-jpg_082314 ]

There is also this menopause thing happening.  My body fluctuates between the temperature of the sun (there’s that spontaneous human combustion thing again!) and Antarctic chill about every five minutes.  Generally speaking, I feel like I want to jump out of my skin all the time.  I can’t focus.  I’m having a hard time performing the duties of my day job (which is, of course, indispensible, now that I’ve incurred debt!) and I’m pretty much on the verge of tears at every moment of every day.  Fun!

I recognize this feeling.  It’s Spontaneous Initiation.  You see, back in January, I made a decision.  I decided to change my life.  I decided to finally, really work on some of the areas of my life that I’d denied and ignored for a long time. This is equivalent to looking defiantly at the universe with your chin out and uttering the words, “Bring it!”

Well, “IT” has been brought, and is possibly still coming.   It’s good for me, ultimately (yay!). Don’t you just love that word – Ultimately?  It means not now.  It means, for now, you suffer.

I’m grateful that my teacher imparted this knowledge to me.  At least I know that all of this isn’t random.  All of these emotional upheavals have a purpose.  And at the end, there will be a new me!  Reborn.

baby witch

[image source:  https://www.etsy.com/search?q=baby+witch+hat ]  (adorable baby witch’s hats available here!)

Maybe you recognize this process happening in your life?   If so, fear not.  It may feel like your soul is on fire and there will be nothing left but a few charred cinders.  It may feel like dying, but it’s not the end. I promise. It’s a new beginning.

Begin the journey_box2

[image source:  http://www.lighthousediscovery.com/Begin%20the%20jour.html ]

Goddess Divine Empowerment!

How I went from Playing Way Too Small to Being an Empowered Goddess and So Can You!

oppressed-women  My last blog post ended with me in the depths of addiction and and suffering the pain and humiliation of a terrible marriage.  So, how did all of this turn around?  I’ll tell you!

A few years into that marriage I finally decided to get a handle on my addictive, self-destructive practices. That makes it sound like it was easy, like I made a decision one day and then got clean. That’s not what happened. There was a LOT of “Facing my Shadow”, and “embracing my darkness” at that time. I was introduced to the concepts put forth by the noted psychologist, Carl Jung and began to study the practice of uncovering and accepting our “Shadow” aspects, those parts of ourselves that we would rather deny. I had a lot of that. Also, during that journey, in my twenties, I was introduced to the concept of spirituality as opposed to religion. Cultivating a connection with some “unknowable force” helped me greatly in my recovery from alcohol and drug abuse, and I became a seeker. Learning about spiritual practice became my new drug of choice, I believe, because it touched on that true nature and those gifts I was denying. Some part of me recognized that something here might actually have an effect on the root cause of my destructive behavior. I wasn’t consciously aware of this, of course, but I believe it was there.

So I read everything I could. I spent many years investigating different spiritual practices. I studied, and continue to study, world religions, and philosophies like Catholicism and Christianity in general, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, and so on. And while I can’t say that I felt a deep connection to any one religious view, what I did find was the practice of meditation. Meditation was the single most important component in my recovery and my journey to here. And it remains the staple of my current practice. I cannot over-state its importance in my evolution from frightened little girl to empowered Goddess. It saved my life.

I’m going to repeat that here because it’s REALLY IMPORTANT!

Meditation was the single most important component in my recovery and my journey to here. And it remains the staple of my current practice. I cannot over-state its importance in my evolution from frightened little girl to empowered Goddess. It saved my life.

empowered goddess   My studies continued and began to include more philosophy, psychology and mythology. I read some classics by great scholars such as Marcus Aurelius, Socrates, Plato and added in some more modern works by the likes of Eckhart Tolle and Joseph Campbell. My views continued to expand as I continued to grow in every way that I could manage. During all of this, I became the mother to a beautiful old soul, a daughter. Witnessing the miracles of her birth and growth and my regular meditation practice were putting me in connection with the divine on a daily basis. Everything changes then. You see, when you meditate it puts you in touch with that ineffable ground of spirit that permeates all that there is. It verifies the unbreakable connection between these bodies we are currently inhabiting and that limitless “other” which we discover is not “other” at all. It’s like plugging in to a vast switchboard where everything is accessible. The miraculous is occurring all around us at every moment in time. I began to notice, is all.

All the while, I was still married to that overbearing, narcissistic man. And during most of our marriage, because there was still that part of me aiming to please and eager to be seen as “the good wife”, we got along fine. But then I began to grow a spine. I began to understand that I had to set an example for my daughter. And I began to disagree with some of the decisions he was making for us and for me. And that was when it got bumpy. I won’t go into the details here of the ultimate awakening that brought me out of that marriage, but know that I did break free and I did so in a meaningful and mindful way, understanding my part in all of it and understanding what I would no longer accept for myself or for my child.

In the following years I was inspired to study the many connections between science and spirituality and became very interested in (um, ok, obsessed with) quantum physics and the philosophies of mind over matter, what some call the Law of Attraction (what I call witchcraft). There was a wonderful feeling of being carried along on a wave of new information and discovery. One insight led to another. One book led to a dozen more. With a broader understanding of myself and the concepts of energy, I renewed my interest in divination and I studied the Tarot, with all of its wonderful Archetypes and insight into the human journey. I also began again to experiment with Skrying. All of this brought me to the study of Nature-based religions like Wicca and Heathenry and paganism in general. And a new wave of discovery launched me into practice with others and the structure and benefits of ritual, shared energy and sisterhood. I delved deeply into the study of mythology, especially the Goddesses which re-energized my desire to facilitate women’s empowerment. I was given the opportunity to expand my leadership skills as a founding member of a coven, often presiding over Ritual as Priestess. And, finally I put that into practice in my own spiritual Meetup Group and opened an inclusive spiritual center from my own home where I hosted many, many workshops, ceremonies, rituals and festivals before moving to Phoenix, AZ.

Aphrodite2   So here I am today, wanting to share some of this learning and insight with you, the seeker with the Goddess hidden inside. I can help you find your inner Goddess because I worked so hard to find my own. And I’ve distilled all of the seeking and struggles and mistakes and successes into some very essential lessons to set you on your personal journey to Goddesshood. Join me and a number of your sisters on this amazing, life-changing adventure. Simply email me at AffordableSedonaRetreat@gmail.com for all the details.  There is absolutely NO obligation, NO spam, NO sharing of your email address and a free gift!  This retreat will fill up, so don’t hesitate!  

With Love and Sisterhood,

Renée

Blessed Be

… How I went from Natural Psychic to Natural Disaster…

This series of blogs is dedicated to  Goddess Divine -A Spiritual Retreat for Women which will be taking place in Sedona, AZ in May.  Email me at AffordableSedonaRetreat@gmail.com for all the details! When last we connected, dear reader, I had given you a brief overview of my “qualifications” to help you bring forth your inner […]